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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: a new study shows most teenagers who think about, or attempt, suicide have already had some mental health treatment. good evening, i'm gwen ifill. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the "newshour" tonight, we get the latest on the findings coming in the largest study ever of suicidal behavior among adolescents. >> ifill: then, we turn to today's arguments at the supreme court over whether police need waants to order blood tests for suspected drunk drivers.
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>> brown: should the number of u.s. troops in afghanistan fall to zero by the end of next year? judy woodruff gets two views of that option-- one the obama administration says it may consider. >> ifill: ray suarez has the story of playful robots given a very serious mission: helping people with special needs from elderly adults to autistic children. >> this kind of a tool might be an interesting way to bridge the gap, pull the child, if you will, from the world of objects and the focus on objects over to the world of humans. >> brown: we update the outbreak of the flu, as the number of cases has surged to record levels in some states. >> ifill: and we close with a look at the baseball hall of fame, which denied entry to three steroid-tainted stars today. >> ifill: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> ifill: a major new study released today concludes that one in eight american teens has had suicidal thoughts. one of every 25 has attempted suicide. those findings come from a survey of nearly 6,500 teens published in the journal "jama psychiatry"-- the largest in- depth analysis of teens on this subject. more than half of the young people who planned, thought of, or attempted to kill themselves had received at least some treatment.
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nearly 1,400 teens between the ages of 13 and 18 took their own life in 2010. for more about the study and some of the issues it raises, we talk to two experts. doctor timothy linerry is edical director of t may clinic psychiatric hospital. and brian daly is a clinical child and adolescent psychologist and professor at drexel university. >> welcome to you both. dr. daly, how concerned should we be about these numbers? >> i think they're very concerning, gwen. i think some of the data indicates here that once we get them into treatment, with i is where we want them, we're not actually being as effective as we want to be suggesting we need formo vigilant working with the youth and we're seeing the thghts comi afer trtment whch is st concerning and we know this is a group that is at high risk of dropping out so there's some question about whether i can say the mental health professionals are being vigilant in continually assessing suicide al thoughts and attempts and plans for these individuals. >> dr. lineberry as you read
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this report did you see signs there that gave you new information that you could use to apply to what is driving these numbers? >> well, i think this is significant kind of addition in terms of research with the information in the prevalence because this is at hi irrates th it is withdults. as dr. daly pointed out, i think the issues that we have clinically are how do we identify and treat at risk individuals and children and adolescents at risk for suicide and can we do a better job with clinical treatment. >> here is my question, i want to ask you both about that, when you talk about treatment and the interesting thing in the report is these were not the missed people. these were not the missed patients. people knew they were having trouble. they were already in treatment. how is it people already in treatment still get to the point where they're considering or actually acting on suicidal thoughts? drlinerry,ou first? >> you know, as we think about suicide, one of the things to keep in mind is that it's not a binary phenomenal where it's yes
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or no, you either are or are not suicidal. so we see changes in terms of how people are thinking about suicide, where they're acting or planning suicide based on the severity of illness. what me need to look at doing is what are the factors associated in clinical treatment as we're going that are either signs of treatment or acting more aggressively asrtivy when a ildor adolescent or rent is reporting there are concerns with worsening system symptoms or the initiation of the thoughts of suicide. one of the things about this study that is remarkable is the degree of thoughts of suicide associated with the temps verses thoughts of suicide and thinking of planning for suicide and subsequent attempts. dr. daly i want you to pick up on that point. we're talking about the distinction and stopping people from thinking about it and moving to acting on it? >> it's a great point that is made, sort of adding on to it. onething thate'roncerned th is that the old
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conventional thinking used to be if we're able to reduce the symptoms of depression that thoughts of suicide and even suicide plans and attempts should also diminish and i think we're seeing some new evidence that suggests even though we're able to reduce some of these symptoms of depression, it doesn't necessarily mean that thoughts of suicide or suicide plans are going to drop as well. so again, you know, back to my earlier point, it sort of suggested mental health professionals need to continue to remain vigilant during treatment that even if we see these teenagers becoming better in terms of their symptoms of preson reducin weneed t continue to check in with them about whether they're having thoughts, plans, or ideas around suicide. >> dr. daly if it's true suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents is this something that has gotten progressively worse and is there any way we can identify why? >> no, it's not something that has gotten progressively worse. we see data suggesting suicide completion is not necessarily rising from epidemiological
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perspective but it's the third leading cause of dath amg teenagerandthis is en within we have them where we want them, which is in intensive treatment. it means we aren't always doing the right things to diminish these plans and attempts and certainly from stopping the completions that occur. >> dr. lineberry, of course it strikes us close to home when who he think about young people having these thoughts or taking these actions but how does it compare to adult behavior? >> well, i think there are key differences. getting back to what dr. daly had said, research shows that we're making a difference with depresse sptoms and oter syndmes dults that we're more likely to see change bess thoughts of suicide or suicidal behavior and that doesn't seem to be the story that we're getting from research with children and adolescents so it's important to keep in mind that these are two different things in terms of tracking. from a prevention standpoint, it's critical that we look at what are things in terms of impulsivity because the children and adolescent data is different
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from impulsive attempts compared to adults so it may speak more to the need for risk-prevention strategies, making sure clear plans are in pla for clinicians and for parents and families. >> and there's a difference between girls and boys, in between who will think about it and who will act as well? >> there is a difference. with girls we see a higher rate of attempts but if we look at rates of suicide, we see higher rates in boys and males. and so it's important for us to also keep in mind that there may be some aspects of this research that are helpful in getting to that group as well. >> dr. daly what do we do about the stigma and the reluctant -- he reluctance tou about this issue, especially for parents? >> it's a very difficult issue. the fact of the matter, even counselors that work with these adolescents can be discomforted by working with, you know, a suicidal teenager and so it's an issue that needs more national dialogue. there's certainly been efforts
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by the southern general to promote a dialogue about this but i think the individuals that work most closely with teenagers including teachers and parents are often uncomfortable with the idea of speaking with them about it and there's a myth in society that if you bng uphe pic of scideitheeners that they're more likely to act on those impulses, when in fact we know the 0ness is true; that parents, peers and teachers, when they bring up this notion with teenagers, it's shows concern and helps to decrease some suicidal ideation. >> doctor, are there social or demographic drivers here that people from a certain background or a certain geographic location are more likely to consider this? >> you know, the research study didn't look at number of the social and demogrhic facrs as mch. we do see differences in terms of education so there were some things with the study showing differences with education, with
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support at home could be a factor with that. it's important to keep in mind there are a number of factors that are not just related to psychiatric illness but stressors, culture, support, support at home, supports with school and those involved with the child or adolescent. >> doctor timothy lineberry of the mayo clinic psychiatric hospital and dr. daly of drexel university thank you both so much. >> thank you. >> brown: still to come on the "newshour": requiring a search warrant for a blood test; reducing troop levels in afghanistan to zero; using robots as therapy; fighting the flu and denying major stars entry to the hall of fame. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: president obama is ready to name a new treasury secretary-- his own chief of staff, jack lew. it was widely reported today that the announcement will come tomorrow. lew played a key role in the recent fiscal cliff negotiations with congress, and he previously headed the office of management and dget. if confirm by the sete, lew
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would replace timothy geithner who's stepping down later this month. labor secretary hilda solis submitted her resignation today, after four years on the job. she made the decision public in an e-mail message. labor unions have praised solis for aggressively enforcing wage laws and job safety. business groups have complained she refused to take a more cooperative approach. american international group will not join a shareholder lawsuit over its federal bailout. a.i.g.'s directors said today they were legally oblited to considetaking part, buthey opted against it. the company had faced mounting criticism since news of the suit broke. the 2008 rescue of a.i.g. cost $182 billion-- the largest of the financial crisis. all of it was paid back, leaving the u.s. government with a profit of $22 billion. vice president biden called in gun safety organizations and victims groups today, and heard personal stories of gun violence. it was the first in a series of meetings to brainstorm on ways to reduce gun violence. the vice president was given that responsibility by president
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obama, after last month's deadly school shooting in connecticut. >> we're here todayto deal with a problem that quir immediate action, urgent action. and the president and i are determined to take action. this is not an exercise in photo opportunities or just getting to ask you all what your opinions are. we are vitally interested in what you have to say. >> sreenivasan: tomorrow, mr. biden meets with members of the national rifle association and other gun owner groups. a pre-trial hearing ended today in the colorado movie shooting. prosecutors finished outlining their evidence against james holmes, anthe defense opted not to make a presentation. holmes allegedly shot and killed 12 people and wounded 58 others at a late-night movie showing in the town of aurora, last july. the judge says he will rule by friday on whether holmes should go to trial. a large scale prisoner exchange has begun in syria. the government said today it will swap more than 2100 civilian prisoners for 48
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iranians that rebel forces captured in august. the iranians were greeted in damascus by their ambassador, who called them visitors. the rebels insisted they were fighers,upplied by iran to pporpresident baar a assad. it was unclear how many of the syrian political prisoners were freed today. opposition groups said there are tens of thousands being held. the middle east struggled today with its worst january storm in 30 years. at least a foot of snow fell in jordan, blocking roads in amman and cutting off remote villages. that followed days of heavy rain in lebanon that touched off severe flooding. the rain, wind and nighttime dips below freezing were especially hard on thousands of syrian refugees living in tent camps and homemade shelters. in china, the rulg communist party resolved a censorship dispute with an influential newspaper. staffers with "southern weekly" in guangzhou said today officials will no longer directly censor content before publication. other controls will stay in place. protests erupted after censors
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rewrote a new year's editorial that called for political reform. the washington national cathedral will begin performing same-sex marriages. the cathedral announced the decision today as part of an effort to build a more inclusive community. the 106-year-old cathedral is a spiritual center for the nation, hosting presidential inauguration services and state funerals. it will be one of the first episcopal congregations to allow gay marriage rites. on wall street today, the dow jones industrial average gained 61 points to close at 13,390. the nasdaq rose 14 points to close above 3,105. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: can a police office force a drunk driving suspect to take a blood alcohol test without a warrant? that was the question before the supreme court today, in a case involving fourth amendment rights. marcia coyle of the "national law joual" was in the courtroom and joinss now. >> thanks, jeff. >> start, as always, with the facts of case. >> ok.
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a missouri state police officer stopped tyler mcneily on the highway because he was speeding. the officer discerned that he might be under the influence of alcohol because he had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and the odor of alcohol on his breath. >> all clues, right? >> right. mcneily failed several field sobriety tests. he refused to take a breath test. the ofcer putim the car, arrested him, was going to take him to jail but then decided to take him to a hospital for a blood-alcohol test. which mr. mcneily also refused to give consent to. mr. mcneily, of course, he had been arrested and charged. he moved in court to suppress the evidence of the blood-alcohol test, which showed that his alcohol level was way above the legal limit. >> so the legal issue is whether the warrantless blood test violates the fourth amendment ght and that is the nreanable seach. exactly. warrantless searches are
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considered unreasonable, unless they fall within an exception to the warrant requirement. and that's what the state of missouri was arguing today. the state of missouri lost his case in the missouri supreme court. so they're appealing. and they were urging the court to adopt a categorical per se rule that police officers do not need warrants to do blood-alcohol tests. and missouri argued that it was constitutional because it fell within the exception to the warrant requirement that the court has called exocontingent circumstances. >> and that's because -- >> those circumstances exist when for example the time it would take a get a warrant, it would endanger someone's life, or as missouri argued here, there's a risk of destruction of evidence. the missouri attorney said, with every minute, alcohol dissipates in the blood, so there's not only a risk that evidence will be dedestroyed but a certainty that any delay will destroy --
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>> and the argument on the other side is or was toy? >> right. steven shapiro of the aclu represented mr. mcneily and he said the warrant requirement should not be dispensed with, unless there were specific facts in a case that showed that it was unreasonable to require the warrant. and he looked to a 1966 supreme court decision in which the court ok'd a warrantless blood-alcohol test because in that case there were specific facts. the officer was at the scene of the accident th spec who was suspected of drunken driving had to go to the hospital, it took a while until the officer could get to him and it would have taken too much more time to get a warrant. >> so how did the justices at a i this all in? what kind of questions, what kind of concerns did they show? >> it was pretty clear the justices lookedded at a blood
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draw than a more intrusive search than a breath test. for example chicken george roberts said it presents an image of someone in the hpital under restraint and the state coming at him with a needle. >> because it involve's needle. >> absolutely. and even justice sotomayor pointed out it's more obtrusive than a breath test. so the question for missouri's lawyer who was arguing for this rule really focused on how impractical is it to get a warrant here? and missouri's lawyer said the trouble is not getting a warrant. the police can get the warrant. the trouble is the time it takes. in this case in particular, he said, it would have taken 90 minutes to two hours, and he w bked by the obama administration whose lawyers said every minute counts and the alcohol number counts as well. >> so were there justices that were skeptical of that argument then? >> yes. absolutely.
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justice breyer pointed out in many jurisdictions today, police can get a warrant over the telephone but mr. shapiro, when his time was up to tee fend the warrant in these situations, justice alito did pointut that often ruralrea don't he a magistrate or a district attorney on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week in order to look at the warrant request, and he asked, well, should all of the country operate the way new york city does. and mr. shapiro said no, but, in the absence of any evidence, getting a warrant a cumbersome and time consuming or that having the warrant or not having the warrant requirement affects the conviction rate you shouldn't dispense with the warrant requirement. >> does aase like this fit into etiological sides that you can, you know, compare to other cases or is this somehow different when you get into a
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fourth amendment search? >> sometimes the fourth amendment does show an etiological divide on the court but on this argument in particular, i didn't see that. i thought, across the board, the court was leery of dispensing with the warrant requirement, and they were looking for, perhaps, some kind of a compromise here, saying that the police, at least, have to try to get th warrant, and if they don't get the warrant, then maybe the courts in general should look at the totality of circumstances and perhaps not getting the warrant was reasonable and justified. >> and this is why state courts have split on, i gather, right? >> they have. >> three and three -- >> they have split and they have split over how to apply that 1966 supreme court decision. some limit it, read it narrowly, requiring specific facts to justify no warrant. others look at it as saying no warrants requid. i should point outthatissri is pported in this case by
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32 states, the district of columbia and guam as well as, not surprisingly, mothers against drunk driving. >> marcia coyle, national law. thank you. >> my pleasure, jeff. >> ifill: as the president's second term takes shape, the obama administration is grappling with one of its thorniest challenges, deciding how many troops will or will not remain in afghanistan after 2014. judy woodruff has that. >> woodruff: the talk of how many u.s. troops to leave in afghanistan comes with 66,000 still serving there, down from a peak of 100,000 in 2010. under current plans, combat forces would be withdrawn by the end of 2014, leaving an undetermined number of americans to train afghan troops. but yesterday the white house
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deputy national security advisor -- berhodes -toldeporte e number could be ze. he said, "we wouldn't rule out any option. the u.s. does not have an inherent objective of 'x' number of troops in afghanistan." the comment raised eyebrows in washington, especially in light of something that vice president joe biden said, in a campaign debate last fall. >> we are leaving. we are leaving in 2014, period, and in the process, we're going the primary objective is almost completed. now all we're doing is putting the kabul governmenin a siti to able to mntai their own security. it's their responsibility, not america's. >> woodruff: underlying all this: u.s. and afghan negotiators at odds over granting american soldiers immunity from prosecution under afghan law, after 2014. the issue is expected to come up
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friday, when afghan president hamid karzai meets with president obama at the white house. but if past experience is any indicator, agreement may be hard to come by. in 2011, negotiations to leave american trainers in iraq broke down over the immunity question and no u.s. troops remain there. for more on the troop levels after 2014 we get two views: bing west fought in the vietnam war with the marines and served as assistant secretary of defense during the reagan administration. he's traveled frequently to afghanistan and authored eight books including "the wrong war: grit, strategy and the way out of afghanistan." and leste ward gveer was a puty assisnt secreta of defense in 2006 and 2007. she also served as an advisor to u.s. political and military leaders in iraq. she's now at the university of texas in austin.
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and we thank you both for joining us. bing west, to you first, is it a good idea to even be considering going to zero troops after 2014? >> judy, i think it's nuts. i think it was a highly injudicious statement. our troops are stillighting there. our seni general just came in and offered three options. the midpoint option after 2014 was 12,000 troops. i don't see what the white house gains by making an off-the-cuff statement, well, maybe we will just make it zero. our troops are still in combat. the people who enjoy a statement like that are the taliban and al qaeda. we have an unreliable ally in president karzai, he is erratic and this will cause hi to be even more erric aur own ally will be looking at us and saying, no, where is the united states going. no, judy, i think this was a highly injudicious statement.
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>> celeste ward gventer, an injudicious statement and bad idea? >> well i have the greatest respect for bing west and i'm honored to be on the show with him but i respectfully disagree. for us to be talking about troop levels right now putting the cart before the horse in any case. because frankly we should be talking about our vision for the region strategically. in any event we still need consider that hang no troop the is a real option, and i think to ignore that option would be strategically foolish. we heard about the supposed apandora's box lips that was coming if u.s. troops left iraq. u.s. troops left iraq and the apocalypse has not arrive. that is an option for us and it would be irresponsible for us not to consider it. >> bing west, what is the argument for keeping a significant contingent of troops, whatever that number is? >> judy, i think it's pretty clear, in all due respect to celeste,n the iraq case we don't ha whate haow in
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afghanistan. right next to afghanistan, pakistan is where al qaeda is today. the president, on over 300 occasions, has authorized strikes to kill al qaeda on one side of the mountain and we're trying to keep them from coming in on the other side back into afghanistan. and to leave that place open would hurt our own security so i don't want to stay there for the sake of the afghans but i want to leave enough of our special operations forces there so they can strike wherever they have to and we can't do that ieull out tirey. >> celeste ward gventer, why doesn't that make sense? >> well, i think you have to consider whether, if we left 20,000 or nine thousand or 3,000 troops there, when does it end? when is this over? it seems like a recipe for just staying there, disrupting these groups in perpetuity, and it's not clear to me that advances what is ultimately a complete kel problem in afghanistan. it's no at military problem.
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also, our presenceay be creang what is called a moral hazard. states in the region and political groups in afghanistan are precisely not reaching the accommodation they need to reach because we're there. so i think we need to think deeply, strategically about what we're doing there for how long and then you ask the question how many troops you need to do that. >> could -- bing west, could the troops, just extrapolating from what she said, could there be, if there were a significant number left after the formal end of combat, could that be an impedime to irovent i afanisn? >> well, judy, the way i look at it, the only reason we went to afghanistan, with i have a pile of rocks in the middle of nowhere is because 3,000 americans were killed from afghanistan in new york city. and those terrorists are right across the border and they still want to kill us. so the way i look at it, i will put the politics to one side but
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as long as al qaeda wants to kill us, i want to see us killing them until there aren't any more al qaeda left, none, just put them all 6 feet under the earth and that mns we have to remain tre and just keep hiing them and hitting them and hitting them until we shatter them. >> celeste ward gventer, you both, i think, have received to this as this has been brought up in the context of negotiating legal immunity for any troops that would stay after the end of combat. why is that important? >> oh, it's utterly essential. we saw the break down in negotiations over troops in iraq on exactly this point. it would be intolerable for the united states to subject its soldiers to legal action by e afghan vernment. it's just simply unthinkable. and so we have to get past that problem first and that's a problem we didn't get past in iraq and it's why we really don't have troops there now. if i could just say i agree with the spirit of bing west's
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remarks. i too would like to see al qaeda six feet under the earth but we have to consider al qaeda has moved well beyond afghanistan and it's not clear to me how remaining in afghanistan with a fairly large footprint fits into a larger global coterterrorism pgram and i think weeed to ansr th questi beforewe talk out how many troops we need in afghanistan, what they should be doing. >> bing west, you can respond to that but i would like to know your view on this legal immunity. would you agree that is something that any troops that remain would have to have? >> i agree entirely with celeste. she is absolutely correct. look, i have no truck with a lot of what the afghan government is doing. i just look at this as being in our interests and i think we have to deal with president karzai in a very hard, very firm ay because he isoteliae. but in the end, 'snot about karzai and it's not about politics. it's about the fact that al qaeda wants to kill us. and we have to remain there with
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some troops because of distance. i agree with celeste, if we could be offshore and do it, fine. but the distance is so huge it makes sense to keep a small number of troops there who are aggressive and offensive. >> finally to you both, it's been raised or speculated this could be just a negotiating employ, tactic on the part of the adminiration to get presidt karzaindis government to give that immunity. how do both of you see that question? celeste ward gventer. >> i certainly hope they're taking it veersly. as i said earlier, i think it would be irresponsible not to take it seriously. toes a real option and we should be exploring it. if it helps to put pressure on hamid karzai and other afghan officials as well as regional powers to let them know that we could be gone and they need to fix this problem and fix the problem in their region, then great. >> bing we, doou think i cold wh s said, an
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effort to put pressure on president karzai? >> well, i hope so and i like the way celeste framed it but president karzai is so erratic that you don't know how he is going to react to anything so i prefer that we not do those things in public because he is really not that reliable. he is a little bit nutty himself. >> well, we appreciate you both talking with us. we know president karzai will be meeting with president obama on friday. bing west, celeste ward gventer, thank you. >> thank you so much, judy. > thank y. >> brown: next, a science and medical story involving research from the frontiers of robotics. ray suarez looks at how doctors are using high tech toys to help people with special needs. >> what's your favorite game? >> "mario cart," the original. >> reporter: in a carefully monitored session that seems more like playtime than therapy, researchers at the university of
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notre dame have enlisted an unusual therapist to assist their studies of children with autism, a two footobotamed kelly. >> i got to skip school today, because of you guys. >> that is so cool. i am so glad. >> reporter: kelly is working with 11 year old liam mcguire and a co-therapist of the human kind, kristen wier. >> for liam, kelly has become a friend. i mean, he's very excited to see her. you can tell, he lights up when he sees kelly, he leans forward, his posture changes, his eye contact is much stronger. i think it's something he can relate to, and feel successful with. >> i like to play soccer. >> reporter: robots, like th one are ing introded in research settings where specialists are compiling data to see if the technology can assist individuals with special needs. notre dame psychology professors use a robot built in france by aldebaran robotics, as a tool to
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encourage children with autism, who may struggle just to engage in simple conversation. according to the autism society one percent of american cldren ages three to 17 have an autism spectrum disorder. autism is a developmental disability which often includes delayed speech, a lack of interest in relationships, and limited eye contact. it is the fastest-growing developmental disorder and the need for new tools in therapy is great. >> i'm a really good guy, and i'm not weird, i just-- very special. >> reporter: assistant professor joshua diehl directs the notre dame project. >> in my clinical experience, i've encountered a lot of individuals with autism who have this really intense interest in technology. so the idea of this project is
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to take this interactive robot, which is really interesting and involves technology, and use that to sort of facilitate social skills, development in individuals with autism. >> reporter: at the laboratory for understanding neurodevelopment or fun lab, a child meets with a robot, and a therapist to work on set goals. >> they have certain kinds of deficits related to their ability to interact with other humans and to socialize with people. and at the same time, they have a clear focus on what's called the world of objects, things rather than people. >> reporter: for liam, the goals are to practice asking and answering questions and engage both the robot and the therapist in a three way conversation.
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professor chuck crowell helped program the robots. >> this kind of a tool might be an interesting way to bridge the gap, pull the child, if you will, from the world of objects and the focus on objects over to the world of humans, because its an object with human-like capabilities. >> reporter: kristen wier works with children with special needs and co-teaches a course at notre dame about autism. e robots, she says, are not a cure but a tool. >> i think the robot presents a calm, controlled stimulant, something that the child can find predictable. whereas our human interaction is always unpredictable, and can be exciting, or scary, or something. >> reporter: laura mcguire is liam's mother. >> what we found was, the robot is safe. the robot's facial features don't change, the robot doesn't gesture, i mean it gestures, but in a more predictable, robotic way. the robot doesn't have tremendouinflection, chans
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in the voice-- there's not so much to figure out with talking to a robot, where there was a lot to figure out in talking to a human being >> we don't want children with autism to learn to talk to robots. we want them to learn to talk to humans. so that's been one of our essential questions, is how do you get, if you learn a skill, talking with the robot, how do you get that to translate into an interaction with humans. so, for example, one of the things that we were working on with liam, is to ask kelly, for example, how was her day, what did e do today, whatid she do yesterday? and, spontaneously, one time when, when, uh, his dad came home, he asked his dad how his day was, and he had never done that before, and it was a spontaneous. >> reporter: but children with autism are just one group of people with special needs researchers hope robots can help. here in los angeles, at the southern california school of engineering, they're also
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pushing ahead on the frontiers of robotics, looking for new work for robots to do, not way off in the future, things lik running, and getting up stairs, or carrying heavy loads. they're convinced here that there are a lot of things that robots can be helping with today, instead of waiting for far of technologies, its called socially assistive robotics. at u.s.c.'s robotics research lab, roboticists, who also work with children with autism, have expanded their research into other special needs populations- - notably the growing need for elderly care. professor maja mataric is the founding director of u.s.c.'s center for robotics and embedded systems. >> a very interesting area to explore is creating machines that can interact with people one-on-one, to bridge what i call the care gap. so there are a lot of people, numerous, thousands, even millions of people, who need
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one-on-one care, whether it's because they are aging in place, and they're becoming lonely and isolated. they need to be reminded to be social, to walk around, to connect with their family, to take their medication. >> jack, can i have you move your arms like this? >> reporter: u.s.c. graduate student juan fasola conducts exercise sessions with elderly participants-- using a u.s.c.- designed robot named bandit. >> really the robots intention is not to replace anybody, not to replace any of the human care, but rather to supplement that care, to provide that care where that care is not available or not cost feasible. so if you imagine a stroke patient for example, they need to do eight hours of rehabilitation every day to progress in their injury, to heal, and a therapi might be with themor o, mae t oursefore going on to another patient. >> terrific, great. jack follows you got it, you got it lower your left hand a little. >> reporter: following bandits exercise program helps aging participants like 83-year-old
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jack frost keep not just their bodies in tune, but their minds too. >> if i had a chance to work with this every day, i think it would help me in trying to improve my short term memory, which i've kind of lost. >> try and remember as many gestures as possible. oh that's too bad, here is the correct gesture >> reporter: the robot is not judgmental, so it is participants don't feel embarrassed if they by perform tasks incorrectly. >> i think it's easier for me to communicate directly with a robot knowing i'm not going to get any feedback like i might from a human being. >> reporter: and unlike computers, smartphones and laptops, people tend to ascribe attributes to robots, much like they will pets. >>omething iour ringets to be socially active and engaged with machines that can be socially active and engaging back with us. and so there's tremendous
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potential to create machines that can engage with people, and help people in their daily lives. >> they've been in television shows and in our imagination, but they're coming to be companions. they're coming to be around us, and there are some people who predict that within a few years, there's going to be a robot in every home. >> reporter: as more kids need help, as more people live longer and as the u.s. wreles with providing care, and spending less money. the roboticists figure sooner or later, a mechanical friend will become part of your life. science fact, instead of science fiction. >> ifill: now, the latest on a flu season that's hitting early and often. reports of widespread infection are now coming in from more than 40 states. 2,200 people have been
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hospitalized. 18 children have died. the blow has landed especially hard in several cities. in boston today, mayor thomas menino declared a public health emergency. and in the chicago area, more than a dozen hospitals have been so overwhelmed, they've have had turn patients away. we're joined by two people following this closely. dr. julie morita is medical director for chicago's health department. and dr. william schaffner is chairman of the department of preventive medicine at vanderbilt university. > thanyou for joining u dr. schaffner, is it worse than it has been in the that's. >> well, gwen, last year, we were a little bit spoiled. we had the lowest number of flu cases in the united states for years and years, so flu has come back, and it's come back early and a bit with a vengeance. it's all over the country, and as you have said, in some cities, it's causing a lot of illness. >> well, let me talk about this matter of degree with you a little more dr. schaffner. is it a matter that it's
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coming -- it's coming earlier but are the symptoms more receiver? well it has come earlier gwen and it's caused prominently by an influenza strain that usually cause's bit more severe illness. so there are a lot of people going to the emergency room and calling up their doctors and complaining about illness and coughing. >> dr. morita, let's talk about chicago in particular. what are you seeing there? how hard is it hitting? >> in chicago we have numerous symptoms to track it. we are looking at emergency room visits due to iluenzand intensive care unit hospitalizations and pediatric deaths, and early in december we started to see that rise in influenza activity and we actually have had many intensive care users and hospitalizations reported to us. at this point we haven't had any pediatric deaths reported to us and we're thankful for that. >> you mentioned pediatric deaths especially, but are
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elderly also equally vulnerable? >> on the intensive care unit hospitalizations that we have had reported to us, the vast majority of them are senior citizens with underlying halth conditions soyes with this particular strain we know the elderly and those with underlying health conditions are more likely to get seriously ill. >> let me ask you and i want to ask dr. schaffner this, what do the hospitals do with the added pressure? we mentioned in the introduction about turning some patients away? >> in the state of illinois emergency rooms have a by pass system where they can, for certain reasons, whether it's low-bed availability or backed-up emergency rooms, they can have paramedics and ambulances divert or by pass heir emergency rooms with non-crical i patien to other nearby hospitals so they have been doing that and that's what you referred to earlier. the state has been monitoring that closely to make sure that those hospitals are diverting appropriately and also that people are able to get adequate
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care. >> dr. schaffner are you hearing about the same pressure being put on hospitals and also on emergency room quick clinics, whatever as this continues to build? >> well in our neck of the woods it's has not been quite as bad as it is in chicago. emergency rooms and doctor's offices have beenery busy b we,too, have prepednss plans such thatf the pressure is great, we can share our resources and, if necessary, expedite people being discharged from the hospital just as promptly as possible so we can facilitate the admission of patients to the hospital. we have not yet had to implement that sort of plan here in nashville. >> dr. schaffner i have to ask you the question that i bet you every other viewer is thinking which is i had a flu shot this year. does that make me impregnable at this point or does this mean i'm justas vulnerable as everyone se? >> ju remember, the influenza vaccine is a good vaccine but it's not a perfect vaccine. it works best in young, healthy,
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people who have a robust immune system but paradoxically in the people that we would like to protect the most, seniors, people with severe underlying immunological illnesses it's not as effective but even so it often provides partial protection. it will make a more serious illness milder. it can preventospitalition an of urse, deah. >> dr. more ito what do you tell people that ask you about sacs nation? obviously you tell them to go ahead and have it but what if they compaq and tell you, i got sick anyway? >> i think it's important to remember what dr. schaffner said and that is, it's not a perfect vaccine so even though you got sick you didn't end up in the hospital or get seriously ill. and the other thing, there are many respiratory viruses circulating at this time and the flu vaccine own prevents flu infections so people could be getting sick wi her
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infections as well. >> so it's possible to suffer from related diseases and maybe you have already had one shot. is it worth it for someone would didn't have a flu shot, dr. morita and then dr. schaffner, to go ahead and do it at this late at a time anyway? >> absolutely. we're still seeing an increase in influenza activity so flu season not over so we're recommending people get vaccinated if they haven't already. >> dr. schaffner? >> you bet. i agree completely. but don't linger. get on about it. ptectyouelf well those around you. you don't want to transmit this virus to people with whom you work and people you love in your family. >> well i'm proud i got mine. i'm going to pass it on to everyone else. dr. morita and schaffner, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> our pleasure. >> brown: finally tonight, this year the story is the stars who
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were not given baseball's highest honor. the announcement came from jeff idelson, president of the baseball hame of fame and museum in cooperstown, new york. >> for only the eighth time since voting began in 1936. brian, the voting membership did not elect anyone to cooperstown. >> brown: idelson did not say so, but the taint of the steroids era kept out three big names who were eligible for the first time. sluggers barry bonds and sammy sosa and pitcher roger clemens fell far short of winning enough votes from the baseball writers association of america. bonds held the records for most home runs in a season and the most all-time. he's also the only seven-time most valuable player. he's denied ever knowingly using steroids. but in 2011, he was convicted of obstructing justice in testimony to a grand jury investigating the issue. clemens won the cy young award,
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as best pitcher, a record seven times. and in 2008, he denied using human growth hormone in congressional testimony. >> let me be clear: i have never taken steroids or h.g.h. >> brown: clemens was later indicted on charges he lied to congress, but last june, he was acquitted of all charges. sammy sosa belted more than 600 home runs in his career, including 66 during the 1998 season. he, too, appeared before a congressional committee in 2005, insisting he never used steroids. that committee also heard from another former star, mark mcgwire, who admitted to steroid use five years later. today, he was denied entry to the hall of fame for a seventh time. barry sverluga covers baseball for "the washington post" and joins us now. >> barry, for our non-baseball followers, explain the dilemma here. these players, bar bond and roger clemens in particular, there's no question of their
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greatness as ball players, right? >> that's right. i mean all of them would be first ballot hall of famers, certainly clemmons and bonds. bonds is probably one of the best hitters of all times and clemmons one of the best pitchers, first on the strikeout ist but this is a deeper issu d a dilma for the baseball writers who have been in charge of voting people in the hall of fame. there's a character clause in the hall of fame guidelines and i think the results would show that the majority of writers are not comfortable electing people who they believe have cheated the game, have cheated by using performance-enhancing drugs. >> you know, as we said, bond and clemmons, they have all denied using them, so baseball people are saying that there's enough evidence or there's enough question or what exactly are they saying in this vote? >> that's exactly what they a saying,talking to forr commissioner vincent, he thinks the whole thing is murky and that's probably the best word to describe it.
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keep in mind this is a process, too. >> these guys can be on the ballot up to 15 years if they keep getting a requisite number of votes so there's time to make a judgment here and i think there's a real reluctance among voters to make a judgment when they don't feel like they have all of the information that they might get in a decade. look at lance armstrong's case in cycling, we don't think -- he denied it for years ask years and years and now there's a chance he might adt to using performance-enhancing drugs so it's a difficult spot for the voters. >> it's interesting that nobody got in so one wonders does the steroid scandal go beyond the stars that we have all talked about, does it in some way taint a whole generation of players? >> that really is the flip side. you know, what do we know for a fact about any of these people and just because their names have not come up, you know, in the mitchell report in 2007, baseball's independent investigation into the wole problem, does that mean they
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were clea i think that's one reason why you did have zero people voted in this year because people are waiting. increasing biggio who got the most votes this year was on the ballot for the first time. might we find out in five or six years that he used performance-enhancing drugs? i think that's where hesitance comes into the minds of some voters. >> what do we know at this point about how the public views this. we're talking about a vote done by the baseball writers. what about the public? are theymore or less forgiving or dowe know? >> they ar forgiving in that they say in a poll that we ran in "the washington post" this morning that most people are not caught up in the issue of did you cheat or not cheat? with the baseball hall of fame though there is a little bit of a demarcation there. the majority felt that people such as bond and clemmons, even though they have denied it's, they have been tainted by the scandal, and it's odd for the
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public because they want to see the home run and the big strike out. how much it matters to them how those players got to that result is a little unclea >> you were talking about the fact that these players have, of course, more chances every year, there's another vote, up to a certain limit, i guess. but is there some possibility that some of the writers were, i don't know, giving a kind of slap this time to make a statement, you know, and say, well, we are not happy but it's possible it will come back next year or in future years and vote them in? >> that possible. i think what you have to look at in the case of bonds and clemmons, who both received fewe than 40% of the vote is how far they have to go to get to the 75% threshold that is needed to get in to the hall. that typically happens in, say, nonsteroid cases where the writers kind of say this guy is an all-time great and should get in on the first ballot and stat stamps him as an elite class,
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elite among the elite. there are changes in votes year to year and the environment changes, the discussion goes further. i think there will be some developments over the next few years in regards to these two guys and sosa includedut is enou toump them up another 40% wii is what they need 0 get into the hall. >> i'm curious in the last 30-seconds, you said the writers look at other cry i can't, the brirs and the strikeouts and those are things like character. is that something well defined in baseball and in sports? >> well, you know, that rule was written a long time ago. so ty cobb who is a notorious womanizer is easily in the hall of fame. what defines character has evolved over time. this has defined the discussion another ars and hall of fame don't have that in their procedure. >> barry sverluga thank you very much. >> thank you for having me. >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day:
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a major new study found one in eight american teenagers has had suicidal thoughts and one of every 25 has attempted suicide. there was word that president obama will nominate his chief of staff, jack lew, to be treasury secretary. while labor secretary hilda solis announced today she plans to resign and insurance giant a.i.g. decided n to join a shareholder lawsuit against the federal government, which gave the company the largest bailout of the 2008 financial crisis. and we have another health story online about how the u.s. ranks in terms of life expectancy. hari sreenivasan has more. >> sreenivasan: the u.s. spends more on health care per person compared to other high-income nations, but that doesn't translate to healthier lives, according to a report from the national academy of sciences. read more about the findings on our health page. and poetichard blao habeen choseno coose and read an original poem for president obama's second inaugural. he is the first hispanic and first gay poet selected for that
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honor. you can hear him recite some of his work on art beat. all that and more is on our web site gwen? >> ifill: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. on thursday, we'll examine president obama's likely choice for treasury secretary, white house chief of staff jack lew. i'm gwen ifill >> b bwn: and i'm jeffrerebrown. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening. thanks for joining us. good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshouhas been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
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>> support also comes from carnegie corporation of new york, a foundation created to do what andrew carnegie called "real and permanent good." celebrating 100 years of philanthropy at >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thanyou. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh
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